Redefining health checks

A recently updated Cochrane Review concluded that general conventional health checks “are unlikely to be beneficial” in terms of reducing mortality or morbidity. Dr Allan Goroll, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School is critical of the research saying that the main reason that check-ups exist is to develop and sustain trusting healing relationships between doctor and patient. In response to the Cochrane Review, a JAMA article asks if the concept of health check-ups should be reframed. Rather than seeking to detect disease, check-ups should instead be used to develop and maintain a long-term plan for good health that focuses on the key concerns of patients. We would argue that health check ups should be there to build resilience, develop, maintain and create health. However, the current conventional medical model is unlikely to be able to meet this goal given its total drug and disease-centricity. In our health sustainability blueprint we advocate an upstream health system - an antidote to the broken health system that exists currently. Regular health evaluation, monitoring and screening is routine and a lot of it originates at home as self-care or guided self-care. The key to a healthy society is an empowered and engaged society where individuals are educated, incentivised and motivated to optimise their health - no matter their socio-economic status. This is the future of disease prevention and the way to sustain our healthcare systems.

Commonly prescribed drugs linked to increased risk of dementia

The number of dementia sufferers globally is still on a massive upwards trajectory with little sign of slowing. Conventional researchers remain baffled as to the cause and funded research is grinding to a halt due to a lack of exploitable drug targets. A new study published in JAMA adds to the growing body of evidence linking the use of bladder incontinence (anticholinergic/antimuscarinic) drugs (which are known to affect learning and memory in older patients), with an increased risk of developing dementia. The researchers found a nearly 50% increased risk with long-term (3 years) use of such drugs. A particular association was found with antidepressant, bladder incontinence, anti-parkinson and epilepsy drugs. The Beers Criteria warns that these drugs should be avoided by elderly patients particularly where they are taking a drug cocktail (polypharmacy), due to the potential for serious adverse effects. This study provides another piece of the complex and multi-factorial puzzle that is dementia. However, dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing. It’s possible to reduce your risk by making ‘upstream’ changes to your diet and lifestyle as well as reducing toxin exposure well before your senior years.

GM patent cartels

Not content with patenting plants and animals, big corporates such a DowDuPont and Bayer/Monsanto are seeking to patent new methods of genetic engineering, such as CRISPR, creating patent cartels, further increasing their dominion on the global food production system. It’s up to us as consumers to take a stand, exercise our rights to choose non-GM produce and take back control of our food supply.

Lawsuit bankrupts opioid manufacturer

Insys Therapeutics has become the first casualty of lawsuits brought against opioid manufacturers in the US. The company filed for bankruptcy after it reached a $225m settlement with the justice department following fraud charges. Executives of the company including its founder are facing prison after being convicted of bribing doctors to prescribe their opioid spray, Subsys, unnecessarily. In such instances the courts are really the only way that citizens can get justice. No doubt this will fling the door wide open for more class actions and in so doing hopefully deter other bad corporate actors from putting profits before people - and planet.

Organic fraud targeted by EU

The growth in demand for organic products has resulted in increased levels of fraudulent products entering the EU marketplace. As part of efforts by the European Commission to protect the organic supply chain in the EU along with the credibility of the EU organic logo targeted action was launched under the OPSON VIII operation. The action has resulted in a number of arrests and sanctions leading to criminal proceedings with more expected. In related news a coalition of 30 organisations backed by citizen power filed an opposition to a patent on salmon and trout asking for the patent to be revoked.

Diabetic amputations increase in US

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in recent years it’s easy to forget just how serious it can be, often leading to life-changing health impacts such as amputation. A new study in Diabetes Care highlights a worrying increase in levels of amputations in young and middle-aged adults in the US. There has been a rise of 69% in patients aged 18-44. This is a situation that should never have been allowed to happen as type 2 diabetes is both preventable and reversible if caught early enough. Find out more about how you can take back control of your health and reverse diabetes the drug-free way.